"Good morning, Seekerville, this is Dresden Davis reporting for R-Witness News, the go-to place for discerning romance lovers everywhere, reporting to you here from the mainland with Captain Jack Sparrow, nefarious pirate of the high seas. Captain Jack has been the subject of film and dissertation across the land, and, yay, across the world. For the past twenty-seven months, Jack has been holed up on a tropical island playing barista and cabana boy to a nefarious group of romance writers who call themselves Seekers. Jack, tell me, what was it like, working for those women? Did they treat you well?"
"Not at eight AM, Jack."
"Ah, darlin' lass..." Jack leans a bit closer, close enough for me to note his eyeliner is actually holding better than mine. Clinique, mayhap???? "'Tis five o'clock somewhere. Me friend Jimmy Buffet sung about it, ye know. Why Margaret Daley and I did a little 'flamingo' dance to it just last year." He draws close. Very, very close. "Margaret's got a thing for flamingos. Savvy???"
Just as I suspected. I meet Jack's move forward with one of my own, noting his hair beading has a Pandora look to it. Pricey. Nice. Those Seeker women certainly kept him well. "But lets talk today about your experiences on Unpubbed Island. What was it like? Wild and crazy? Dull and boring? Tell us, Jack. Tell ALL..." I let my voice fade, leading Jack to a comfort level, like I'm his new BFF. Although all he'd have to do is give me one of those long, slow looks and I WOULD BE....
Jack meets my look and comes closer, close enough for me to see his mascara is too dark for me but holding up in the morning sun marvelously. "Parties."
Jack's eyes widen. He gives me an appreciative smile and I KNOW instinctively (we reporters have VERY GOOD INSTINCTS, think Deep Throat and Watergate....) that he's about to spill everything and I'll use it to expose the Secret Life of Bees.
Oh, wait, that's been done. I meant:
The Secret Life of Seekers.
YES!!!!! "Tell me about the parties, Jack," I say softly, leading him, another skill I pride myself on. "Tell Dresden every little thing."
Jack's face gets that dreamy-starry-eyed look we women know so well and I know this must be Pam Hillman, 2011 Golden Heart finalist and a new client of Steve Laube, one of the top-notch agents in Christian fiction. I lean in, hoping for more on Miss Pam. "Tell me about Pam, Jack." I encourage him with a long... slow... blink. "Tell me everything, big guy."
|2011 GH finalist Pam Hillman|
Time to get the bloker back on track. I mean, really????? "Do they all come to the parties, Jack? Tina? Cara? How about RITA FINALIST Mary Connealy?" I'm thinking right now it would be front page worthy to get the scoop on that Petticoat-pushing beef farmer from Nebraska. I mean: AS IF.
|Mary's reputed pet chicken, a Golden Sebright|
"They bring in their friends," Jack begins again. "Bob Mayer came by and spent a day with 'em and got 'em all feelin' like they're normal with that Warrior Writer stuff. The hissy fits, the desperation, the tears, the neuroses... He called them 'common to writers everywhere...' But he was an okay bloke, you know, one of those military types I'm not usually all that taken with, but Bob...." Jack dips his chin. "He's all right. Savvy?"
Savvy? I LOVE Bob Mayer, and Jack's actually met the dude???? SWEET. "Tell me more. Tell me about the women, Jack."
|Karen White and Ruthy|
"Really?" Since I know Edwina Cowgill through her marvelous book reviews, I edge closer. "You and Edwina..."
"Umm... no." Who knows that kind of stuff about someone? I mean I KNOW Edwina is always decked out, but matchy-matchy everything????
"She's amazing." He whispered the words as if saying them out loud might taint the memory. Really??? Are ya' kiddin' me? This is Jack Sparrow, whispering in THAT TONE about a book discussion. Obviously Edwina is one of those still waters....
I sit back, hungering for more, or maybe eyeing one of those lemon pound cake slices, so good, delectable really, melt-in-your-mouth wonderfulness.
"Tell me about Julie, Jack." I lean in, trying not to stare at the pound cake, thinking 'SIZE 8, SIZE 8, SIZE... MAYBE 10..."
Aha. "As in...?"
"Beautiful, voluptuous, darling, sincere, and did you know she can PIPE INITIALS on twice-baked potatoes?"
I throw up, just a little, in my mouth.
"And Camy?" I press, thinking the loud Asian chick might be the chink in Jack's armor. Two years is a long time for a man of Jack's reputation to remain.... lonely.
"A child," he scoffs. "More Will's type than mine. But then there was Marilyn Brant."
I loved her book "According to Jane", a fun twist on non-Austen-esque modern behaviors. Brilliant switch-around. "You and Marilyn...."
"Spent a never-to-be-forgotten evening discussing everything Austen. Jane's an old friend o' mine, savvy?"
I'm not surprised. Anyone who can woo Mr. Darcy would have an easy time with Jack. "Deb Giusti," I press.
Jack's expression deepens. Softens. "A true American, that one. For such, just wars are fought. If I were a soldier, and let me just add I would never BE a soldier, I'd fight for the likes of Deb Giusti... And me-thinks she spoke of a tiara in her past... A crown of some sort.... Perhaps a pageant past in an army-brat's life???" He meets my gaze. "The idea of Deb in a tiara puts me in mind of..." He swallows hard, a woebegone, love-lost expression giving him that half-asleep look we all know and love.
|Deb Giusti's Miss Mount Vernon Tiara|
"More coffee!" I hail the barista. "And how about two slices of that lemon pound cake."
"Every now and then, when I'm missing the Black Pearl, missing adventures, the lasses will bring Walt and Vince around." Jack sits back and nods, flirts with a Wall-Street chick wearing a Rockette-type suit with SEAMED STOCKINGS, and I notice she doesn't order pound cake or extra whipped cream and I realize I might hate her without even knowing her. The wrongness of that doesn't bother me all that much at the moment. I will repent at leisure later because the barista is bringing pound cake my way...
"Myra, actually," he says instantly. "And Vince is another military bloke, a pilot, ye ken?"
"Really?" I didn't know that.
"Over whatever the ladies have on hand." Jack laughs but nods. "And they keep me a bit o' rum, now and again. For medicinal purposes. And holidays. And the good Lord himself was a wine-drinker, I'm thinkin' a spot o' rum now and again to avoid the lumbago keeps a man's heart pumpin' and his interest brewin'. No pun intended." He sends me that wicked grin once more and I realize I'm getting nothing from Jack.
And then I realize something else. The bloke LOVES THE SEEKERS.
Even though they keep him somewhat sequestered, even though his days are long, hot and sunny, even though they've emptied fourteen of fifteen huts....
He loves 'em.
He's ruining my expose!!!
(sorry, a Phineas and Ferb moment there, speaking of which..._)
"Jack, do you have TV on the island?"
Barbara Vey's blog for Publisher's Weekly, of course. Barbara was nice enough to have me as an honored guest at her recent birthday bash.... But back to Pepper and Ruthy... We roll around in the sand..."
Oh... Oh.... Oh......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Obviously Jack has a hair thing going on. Not surprising, considering his own unique 'do'.
"Janet Dean's got the cutest little crooked toes," he continues. "They're actually quite effective for digging in the sand, no hands. A marvelous feat." He shares one of those cock-eyed grins. "A pun, dear, get it? My play on words. Feet. Feat. And did you know that another quirk of fate had Andrea Chermak born on All Saint's Day?"
"The author of Fearless?" I ask.
"Will wonders never cease," I mutter, feeling like I might have wasted not only my time but the last twelve dollars on the twenty-dollar Starbucks card my mother sent for my birthday. Gone... Just like that. Two coffees and two pound cakes, both of which I ate.
"But then there's TINA..." he says, and my hope spirals up again. "I'd do anything for her. Ford a raging river... Sail the seven seas.... Climb a tree in search of the best coconuts known to man."
Oh, I'm on to something now, because she's even bossier than Ruthy, and almost as smart as Mary... Tina and Jack... YES. PERFECTAMENTE! Scandal and front page, hand in hand.
Jack hands me a slip of paper. Trembling, just a little, I open it, sure that it's the key to some secret Seeker scandal, that one of them, AT LEAST is leading some sort of tell-all double-life expose:
Tina's Coconut Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 can sweetened
1 can cream of coconut (in mixed drink aisle-if you use the kind in the plastic bottle only use 3/4)
12 oz ( I sometimes use more)
1 -2 cups flaked coconut (I like as much as I can get on there)
Bake cake according to directions in a 9 x 11 ish glass pan.
Immediately after removing from oven, punch holes all over the top with a fork. LOTS OF HOLES. Pouring slowly over the cake, while hot, alternate sweetened condensed milk and cream of coconut. Let stand thirty minutes then refrigerate overnight. MUST BE OVERNIGHT!!
Before serving top with cool whip and sprinkle coconut on topAnd so it goes...
Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. And as I sat there conversing with Jack, I decided that I, too, will become a friend of Seekerville.
Because I really like these gals. And because I do, there's a lovely surprise Seeker-package going out to one commenter today. And maybe a couple of books to other commenters, because seeing Jack's love for the Seekers makes me feel sweet. Magnanimous. Generous to a fault.
And that's never a BAD thing, right?
This is Dresden Davis, reporting for "R-Witness" News.